Heresy is a set of opinions “at variance with established or generally received principles.” In this sense, heresy is the price of all originality and innovation.
In theology, any “opinion that is contrary to the fundamental doctrine or creed of any particular church” is heretical. From the point of view of churches to which we do not belong – and none of us can belong to the lot – we are all heretics.
For centuries heretics have been persecuted by men of strong faiths who hated non-conformity and heresy and criticism. In our time, millions have been murdered in cold blood by foes of non-conformity and heresy and criticism.
The Faith of a Heretic
Republished in June 2015 (originally published in 1959), The Faith of a Heretic is Walter Kaufmann’s most personal statement of his beliefs. He also provides the fullest account of his views on religion. Although he considered himself a heretic, he was not immune to the wellsprings and impulses from which religion originates, declaring it among the most vital and radical expressions of the human mind.
The book covers a lot of ground, touching on theology, organized religion, morality, suffering, and death – all examined from the perspective of a “quest for honesty.” Kaufmann also subjects philosophy’s faith in truth, reason, and absolute morality to the same heretical treatment. Four words summarize this book: engaging, provocative, refreshing, rewarding.
Walter Kaufmann was a German-American philosopher, translator, and poet. He was a professor at Princeton University for over 30 years. Kaufmann was a prolific author, and wrote extensively on a broad range of subjects, including: authenticity and death, moral philosophy and existentialism, theism and atheism, Christianity and Judaism, as well as philosophy and literature. He is renowned as a scholar and translator of Nietzsche.
Internet resources for Walter Kaufmann:
- Walter Kaufmann Web Site Project
- Walter Kaufmann’s Classic Lectures on Nietzsche, Kierkegaard and Sartre (audio)
Books written by Walter Kaufmann include:
- Critique of Religion and Philosophy
- Existentialism from Dostoevsky to Sartre
- From Shakespeare to Existentialism
- Goethe, Kant, and Hegel: Discovering the Mind (Volume one)
- Nietzsche, Heidegger, and Buber: Discovering the Mind
- Nietzsche: Philosopher, Psychologist, Antichrist
- Religion from Tolstoy to Camus
- Religions in four dimensions: Existential and aesthetic, historical and comparative
- The Faith of a Heretic
Complete list of books & articles written by Walter Kaufmann.
Walter Kaufmann Discusses Existentialism (Part 1 of 2)
Walter Kaufmann Discusses Existentialism (Part 2 of 2)
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